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Isa 6:6 NKJV - Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.

Eze 10:7 NKJV - And the cherub stretched out his hand from among the cherubim to the fire that was among the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed with linen, who took it and went out.

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  • Anyhow those are symbolic incorporeal tongs for normal iron tongs would not be possible to be physically held by any bodiless intellect which is angel; even angels’ hands and wings are not material, but symbolize their immaterial-intellectual features Sep 25 at 19:05
  • If the hand in Isaiah 6:6 is not a bare hand, then why would that not be the case with the hand(s) in Ezekiel 10:7 as well ?
    – Lucian
    Sep 26 at 1:39
  • I would say this is to do with the "purpose" of the coal. Isaiah 6:6 desribes a spiritual cleansing where by a holy coal is touched to Isaiah to absord his sin and purify him so he can be in the presence of God. The seraphim cannot touch Isaiah or the coal as it would then come in contact with Isaiahs impurity. The tongs are required to essentially create a "barrier" or seperation between Isaiahs sin and the seraphim so the sin is absorbed by the coal but its not transferred onto the seraphim. Not a "heat" issue. Its a not touching anything unclean issue. The fire in ezekiel isn't unclean.
    – Marshall
    Sep 27 at 17:49
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This is one of the many difference between the two visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel:

Isaiah 6:10 Eze 10:7
Seraphim Cherubim
Six wings per seraph Four wings per cherub
Seraphim fly about generally Cherubim exclusive to the throne of the LORD
Seraphim are unnumbered (possibly very many?) Cherubim are only four in number
Seraphim are not described except for six wings Cherubim are described in far more detail in Eze 1, 10:12-14, 20, 22.
The sound of the seraphim shook the temple (V4) The sound of the Cherubim is from their wings that sounds like the voice of God Almighty (v5)
"glowing stone" (רִצְפָה ritspah) delivered by a Seraph (Isa 6:6, 7) using tongs to Isaiah "Coals" (גֶּחֶלּ gechel, V2) "Fire" (אֵשׂ esh, V6, 7) delivered using "hands" by a cherub to the "man dressed in linen" (Eze 10:2, 6, 7). (Fire alone cannot be carried by tongs.)
The glowing stone is used to purify the lips of the prophet (V7) The fire is used to scatter over Jerusalem (V2) as a symbol of the city's impeding destruction
The source of the glowing stone is the altar, possibly one of the stones of the altar or one of the burning coals, is not clear. The source of "fire" or "hot coals" is from between the wheels, that is below the throne of the LORD.
Purpose of the vision is the inauguration of the Isaiah the prophet into his prophetic ministry (Isa 6:8) Purpose of the vision is to convey that Israel's wickedness had caused the glory/presence of the LORD to depart the temple. This continues the scene of judgement in Eze 9 with the man dressed in Linen with the writing tablet.

Thus, while both visions are Theophanies (Isa 6:5, Eze 1:26-28, 10:4, 5, 18, etc) and have superficial similarities, they are still distinct and should be examined in their own right.

I assume that in the case of the seraph's use of tongs to carry the hot coal from the altar to Isaiah's lips, it represented the untouched pure message of God which he would need to convey to the people with great courage and fidelity. This quite distinct from the symbol of judgement and destruction in Eze 10.

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Isa 6:6 NKJV

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.

This was a live coal from the altar.

On the other hand, (NIV) Ezekiel 10:

1 I looked, and I saw the likeness of a throne of lapis lazuli above the vault that was over the heads of the cherubim. 2The Lord said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And as I watched, he went in.

These coals were not from the altar.

6 When the Lord commanded the man in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood beside a wheel. 7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out.

This fire was not from the altar. It was among the wheels beneath the cherubim.

A cherub took fire in its hand in Eze 10:7. Why did a seraph in Isa 6:6 need tongs for red coals?

They were different kinds of fire. Isaiah 6:6 involved the fire from the altar. Ezekiel 10:7 involved the fire among the wheels beneath the cherubim.

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